Workers in Chicago: All out on May Day!
Anti-immigrant graffiti attack on
socialist campaign hall draws protests
Militant photos by Laura Anderson
Some 60 people picket outside Wheatland Tube factory March 19 in Chicago after company there fired 17 workers who protested bosses use of no-match letters to intimidate workers. Right, anti-immigrant graffiti smeared on front window of Socialist Workers Campaign hall. The campaign held a meeting there to protest the rightist attack.
BY ILONA GERSH
CHICAGOThe front window of the Illinois Socialist Workers Campaign headquarters was defaced with anti-immigrant graffiti March 19. Buy a wetback someone scrawled on the window. At the center of the display inside the window was a campaign poster that read, Build the May Day march! Legalization for all immigrants! Also in the window were leaflets for the May Day action here, as well as copies of the Militant.
The socialist candidates and their supporters are organizing along with coworkers to not go to work May 1 and instead to join the noontime rally for immigrant rights that has been called by many organizations in the region.
Betsy Farley, the Socialist Workers candidate for U.S. Senate, released a statement on the vandalism. My campaign will not be intimidated from supporting legalization for all immigrants and protesting every instance of immigration raids and deportations. This is not only an attack on my campaign. It is a threat against everyone who supports the right of immigrants to equal treatment, their right to work in this country, and their right to organize unions.
The vandalism comes in the context of stepped-up activities in support of the rights of immigrants in the Chicago area. These include a picket line of 60 workers and family members at Wheatland Tube Company, protesting the firing of workers who received no-match letters (See article on this page).
Farley was the featured speaker at the Militant Labor Forum two days after the attack on the campaign offices. Winning the majority of workers to support and fight for legalization is a life-and death-question for the labor movement today, Farley said. This is an essential part of transforming the unions into fighting organizations of our class.
We need a party of our own, a labor party, based on a fighting union movement, that can mobilize the potential power of our class to defend our interests against the bosses and their government.
All of the Democratic and Republican candidates have anti-immigrant positions, Farley said. Our campaign joins with millions of workers in this country who call for the immediate, unconditional legalization of all immigrants.
Farley said that in the mattress factory where she works as a sewing machine operator, the majority of workers left work to join the massive May 1 march in Chicago last year. I will not be working on May Day this year, the socialist explained. Already in our shop workers are beginning to discuss taking the day off to join the noon rally and march this May 1.
Several messages of support were read at the forum. Rosi Carrasco of the Chicago-based Latino Organization of the Southwest, said, We have to show solidarity with the Socialist Workers Party and all organizations that raise their voice for the rights of workers and the immigrant community. We denounce those racist and anti-immigrant attacks that try to quiet our voices.
Raymundo Reyes, a leader of the Association of Immigrants of Indiana, wrote, We condemn the attack and we stand with you, because if they attack one, they attack us all
. Papers for all! And with strength and unity, lets march on May 1st!
The socialists ask that messages be sent to city officials demanding that the Chicago police arrest and prosecute whoever carried out the March 19 act of vandalism against the Illinois Socialist Workers Campaign offices, located at 3557 S. Archer Ave. in Chicago.
Messages should be sent to: Superintendent of Police Jody P. Weis, Chicago Police Department, 3510 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60653; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; and to Mayor Richard Daley, Office of the Mayor, City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Room 507, Chicago, IL 60602; fax: (312) 744-8045. Send a copy to the campaign at email@example.com.
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